Dana Gioia's outstanding essay on the condition of Catholic literature, published in the latest issue of First Things, is now available to non-subscribers.
I blogged about it here last week and encourage readers to head over to First Things to read it in full. His essay, titled "The Catholic Writer Today," is more than an overview of Catholic writing and the arts; it's also a call to reconsider the general preoccupations of Catholic intellectuals. As he writes:
What absorbs the Catholic intellectual media is politics, conducted mostly in secular terms--a dreary battle of right versus left for the soul of the American Church. If the soul of Roman Catholicism is to be found in partisan politics, then it's probably time to shutter up the chapel. If the universal Church isn't capacious enough to contain a breadth of political opinion, then the faith has shriveled into something unrecognizably paltry. If Catholic Christianity does not offer a vision of existence that transcends the election cycle, if our redemption is social and our resurrection economic, then it's time to render everything up to Caesar.